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Note to editors: Attached are audio notes of Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell (Afrikaans and English) on the HSBC USA Sevens to be played in Las Vegas this weekend.

The Springbok Sevens team may have won three of the last five HSBC USA Sevens tournaments, but they will not be resting on their laurels this week as they start their defence of this title in the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on Friday.

The Blitzboks will face Wales and Canada on the first day of the tournament and will not take anything for granted in the Nevada desert, in the fifth tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

“We had some luck in the past and I’m not sure why we tend to be so successful here, but that means nothing this time around,” said Blitzboks coach Neil Powell shortly after the squad arrived in Las Vegas on a long haul that started in Cape Town on Saturday evening and saw the team transit in London.

“It is always a tough trip. We flew for 11 hours to London, then had a nine hour layover at Heathrow before we boarded another 11 hour flight to Las Vegas, but it did not bother us in the past.”

Ryan Oosthuizen, Selvyn Davids and Muller du Plessis will play in their first Las Vegas tournament, but according to Powell, this will not impact on their performances.

“Generally, we have a pretty experienced squad. Although Ryan, Selvyn and Muller are new to Vegas, they are not new to the system, so it should not be an issue,” said Powell.

Amongst the experienced group, four players have played in more than 50 tournaments for the Blitzboks, and one of them, Cecil Afrika, has scored 210 points at this venue, including 27 tries. The other veterans are Kyle Brown, Branco du Preez and Philip Snyman.

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